By Austin Regan
Title 28 is technically the Building Code’s “spot” in the NYC charter. The thousands of pages that make up the Building Code are all officially “adopted” under Title 28. The Building Code follows the formatting of the International Building Code (IBC) and tries to follow its language as closely as possible. The 5 chapters in the front of the book owe no debt to the IBC. They are peculiar to NYC and cover such items as required façade and boiler inspections, violations procedures, filing for permits and more.
When trying to understand when the 2008 Code had to be used when working on existing buildings the first place to turn was Chapter 1 “Administration,” specifically Sec. 28-101.4.3, titled “Optional Use of the 1968 Building Code for Alteration of Existing Buildings.” The section allowed a building that existed prior to the 2008 Code to follow the 1968 Code or earlier Codes if applicable with exceptions. The original exceptions involving plumbing and mechanical work, fire safety systems, construction operations and elevators are mostly understood by the industry now.
The 2014 Code expands on those exceptions. It lists exceptions that were added and adopted after the 2008 Code came into play and are already in effect like security grilles, mandatory “cool roof” replacements and the requirement to follow the NYC Energy Code.
One requirement that was significantly modified for the 2014 Code was the threshold for following that Code’s accessibility requirements. Per the 2008 Code, the cost of an alteration needed to exceed 50% of the building’s replacement cost before compliance with Chapter 11 was required. The new language requires all alterations regardless of cost to comply with the 2014 version of Chapter 11. Essentially the days of designing per Local Law 58 0f 1987 (NYC’s first handicap law) are over.
It is important to always review Sec 28-101.4.3 before starting work on an existing building. It is also wise to review the entirety of Chapter 1 – Administration as it spells out the department’s standards for documentation and the types of applications and plans to be filed. Also covered are the factors for applying flood elevations and the requirements of Tenant Protection Plans. Also check out Chapter 5 – Miscellaneous Provisions for the rules of bicycle access to office buildings and provisions of the NYC Energy Code.